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10. I do confidently believe that though it be a thing very requisite to publick peace and good order, that cvery several Christian should be ranged under some particular Church and every particular assembly to be subordinate to some higher Government, which may oversee & over rule them
in the case of different opinions and mat. ters of practise; yet that God hath not required , or commanded cicher of thele upon necessity of Salvation ; so as an Indian convert, in the remotest part of the World believing in Christ, may withouc relation to any Church whatsoever be saved ; and a particular Church being Orthodox in the main principles of Religion , upon matcer of litigious contestation, flying off from some more eminenc Church under which it was ranked for Orders sake, however it may be faulty, in an undue division, yet is not hereby excluded from the capacity of salvation ; since such Neighe jarrs, and unkindnesses in Churches, can no more fhut them out, from a common interest in Chrift, then the like quarrels of a Paul and Barnabas, A&. 15. 39. could keep either of them out of Heaven.
11. I do confidently believe, that all the particular National Churches, through the whole Christian World, are no other then Sifters, Daughters of the same Father God; of the same Mother, the Spiritual Jerufalem which is from above ; some of them arc El-der Sisters, others Younger : Some more Tall and large spread ; ochers of less stacure, fome fairer in respect of Holyness of life and Orthodoxic of Judgment; others fouler in relpect of Corruptions, both of doctrine and manners; ftill Sisters; and if any of them shall usurpe a Mistress-ship over the rest, or make her self a Queen over them, and make them subjects and flaves to her; or a Motherhood to the rest (otherwise then in a priority and aid of converfion) and make them, but Daughters and Punies to her; She shall be guilty of an high Arrogance and Presumption, against Christ and his dear Spouse, the Church; since with ihe just and holy God, there is no respect of persons or places, but in all Nations those that serve him best, are most accepted of him.
12. From hence will follow this double Corollarie: First, Thac (as there is a kinde of natural cquality. in Sisterhood) no particular National Church can by right of any institution of God, challeng a commanding power over the rest, however some one may have a procedency to other, in respect, whether of more conftant
Holyness and syncerity, or more speed of conversion ; or of larger extent ; or.of that civil greatnesse, and preeminence of that State or Nacion,wherein it is setled; And upon this occasion may & mult improve and exercise her eminence, to the defence and furtherance of the weaker & more distressed:But if any particular (National Church being less able to sustein itself, shall agree voluntarily to submit her self for orders fake and for safety and protection) to the fway of one more famous and powerful, her ingagement doth justly binde her, so far as lawfully it reacheth; viz. To accknowledg a priority of place, and to respect her directions in matters of forme and outward Administration, so long as they vary not from the rule, which God hath set in his Church : But if that more pocent Church shall abusc that power and begin to exercise Tyranny over the weaker, by forceing upon her new and undue impofitions of faith, ur intollerable infolencies in government; there is no law of God that binds that weaker Church is achar-like to lye down between two burdens, The
may challenge and resume the right of a Sifter, and shake off the yoak of a slave, without the violation of any command of God; and not the injuried but the oppressor is guilty of the breach of peace.
2. It will hence follow, that the relation of this common Sisterhood of all Christian Churches, juftly eyes all those chat professe the name of Christ, to a charitable regard of each to other : So as though there be in some of them grols crrors in matters of Doctrine, and foul corruptions in matters of practise, yer whiles they hold and maintain, all the Articles of the same Christian faith and acknowledge the same Scriptures, the fubftance of the same baptisme, and of the inftitution of the Holy Eucharist, they cease not to continue Sifters, nocwithstanding their manifold enormities, and depravations; these are cnough to deforme any Church, nor enough to Dif-church it ; These are enough to impair the health, not to bereave the life; Howsoever therefore we must alwaics hate, and cry down their errors (which a wilful maintenance makes no lefle then damnable ) yet we must pity and pray for their Perlons, and by all good means, labour to bring them to an acknowledgment of the opposed truth; and although I well know there is ill use made of our charity this way; by those willing mistakers who turne it to our disadvantage ; that we pass so favourable censures upon their Chur
ches, whiles they pals so cruel and merciless ccnsures upon ours, yet my conscience bids me to say that I cannot repent of this juft fentence wherein I know I fhall finde comfort in my appearance, before the dreadful Tribunal of God, when the uncharitableness and injustice of chcle bloody men, chat send their charicable oppolers to a remedilesse damnation, shall be adjudged to that Hell, which they have presumptuoully doomed unto others: As for chem, let them sec how they can answer it to that jult Judge of the World in that great day, that they have presumed to blor out of the book of life lo many millions of faithful Christians, only for dissenting from them in such poines as God never gave them warrant to impose.
From the force then of this Relation it is easily subinfer'd that it is nor lawful for Christian Churches, upon differences about points nor essential to the faith either voluntarily to forsake the communion of each other,or forceably to abdicate and thrust our each other from their communion.There being the same reason in this behalf of a Church and a several Christian : As therefore one Christian may nor abandon another for differences of opinion in matters not neceffary to be believed; so neither may onc Church, upon such ground cither leave or expel another, but if any such act be done, it is to be inquired both where the fault is, and what may be the Remedy.
In a meer simple dereliction of a Church thus differing, and supposed fo to crr,the faults must needs be in the Church forsaking:Buç where the departure is accompanyed with such circumstances, as may be supposed to be incident in such cases, there the state of the business naay be altered, and the blame of either part, cithcr taken off or aggravated. To instance in the prosecution of this Relation which we have in hand: Two Sisters are appointed by their Muther to looke to her house, the charge is given equally to both, the Mother is no sooner out of sight, then the Elder begins to domineer over the
younger, and requires her to do something in the Family, which she conceives may tend to the prejudice of the common profit, and crosse the Mothers intention, the younger finding her self grieved, with this carriage, and disliking the task injoyned, both forbears to do it and seriously expostulates with her Sister; laying before her the inconveniencies which will follow upon luch an act; the Elder impatient of a contradiction, not only gives sharpe lan
but thruits her Sister out of doors ; ncicher will admit her te come in again, except she lubmit her self to her authority, and perform that chare which she formerly refused, the Younger holds off, as thinking she may not yield without wrong to herself, and to her Möchers Trust : The Sisters are now thus parted; but where is the blame? The Younger is gone away from the Elder ; but she doch ic upon
the Elders violence ; on the one side, she had not gone if the had not been thrust out ; on the other side she had not been thrust out,
if she had nor refused to do the thing required ; on the one side, the Elder might not be so imperious, nor injoyn a thing unfit; on the otherside the Younger might not upon such a command voluntarily forsake the Elder ; but if the Elder ihall unjustly challenge such authority, and shall thereupon imposc unmeet services; and shall
pue the Younger out.of doors for not performing them, it is clear where the fault refts.
I appeal to God, and the consciences of all just men, if this be not the stacc of the present differences, of the Romans and Reformed Churches ; the remedy whereof mult therefore begin from those parties which have given
cause of the breach; if they shall remit of their undue Height and Rigour, and be content, with those Moderare bounds which God hath fet them both for Doctrinc, and Government, and yeild themselves but
capable of error, there may be possibility of Reunion, and Peace : But whiles they persist to challenge an infallibility of judgment and uncontrollableness of practise, they do wilfully block up the way to all reconciliation and concord, and stand guilcy of all that Grievous Schism,under which the Church of God, thus long and miserably suffers.
And this upon full deliberation, is my setled and finall Refolution; concerning the main difference in Religion ; wherein my soul doch so confidently reft; that I dare therewith boldiy, appear before the face of that great Judge of the Quick and Dead, as knowing it infallibly warranccd by his own UNDOUBTED WORD.
He case whereof you complan is not more worthy of secre-
which yet you entertain not with consent : Let me assure you these are not your sins, but his that injects them : You may be (as you are ) troubled with their importunity ; but you are not tainted with their evil, whiles you dislike and have them, and are grieved with their suggestion : That bold and suttle enemy of ours durft cast temptations into the Son of God himself, in whom yet he could finde nothing. It were wo with us, if loud motions ( though repelled) should be impured unto us : It is only our consent that brings them home to us and makes them our sins ;were then these thoughes ( as you suppose them) blasphemies; yet whiles your heart goes not with them, bur abhorrs them, and strives against them, they may affli& you, they cannot hurt you: As Luther faid in the like cale, Birds may fly over our heads, whether we will or no, but they cannot nefle in our hair unlesse we permit them. Take heart